Thursday, September 27, 2012

Happiness in Song

Today's topic: Five songs from musicals that never fail to make me happy even if I just had the worst day of my entire life. I think that everyone ought to have songs like these, songs that put a smile on your face with just the expectation of the happiness that's coming your way. And, you know, musicals.

Note: No Disney songs are included, that's a whole separate category which will be covered in a future post.

(Listed in alphabetical order)

1. "Elegance" from Hello, Dolly!

I'm currently in a production of Hello, Dolly!, which is shaping up to be a fantastic good time and a great show. I love most all of the music, but I don't think there's been a single day that I haven't found myself singing at least one line of "Elegance" when I'm not thinking about anything else. It gets in your head....

2. "Henry Ford" from Ragtime
Definitely the shortest song on this list. When I was in the process of discovering Ragtime I was deciding if I wanted the soundtrack or not. Then I heard this song and the decision was made for me. Seriously, seriously, seriously love.

3.  "I Have Confidence" from The Sound of Music
I knew that Sound of Music would be on here, but it was a toss-up between this and "My Favorite Things". This one is a pick-me-up that I go to when days are rough, and Julie Andrews is just phenomenal.

4. "King of New York" from Newsies
This song is so absolutely and completely happy, how can you listen to it and not smile at least once? Denton sings, for a little bit! It also inspired my fantasy of dancing on a table in a restaurant, so there's that.

5. "Oh, Better Far to Live and Die" from The Pirates of Penzance
Actually, ANYTHING ANYTHING ANYTHING from Pirates of Penzance. NO other show on earth is so in-your-face happy and wonderful and perfect.

So those are five songs from musicals that have the tendency to make a bad day tolerable, a good day great, and a great day into a fantastic one for me. I hope you enjoyed and are now happier!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Five Books I Would Take to a Deserted Island

I've decided to start doing weekly posts on whatever random topics come up. Topic Number One: What five books would I want with me on a deserted island? Who hasn't been asked this? Okay, it's usually asked about movies now, but I'm sure in the old school days they asked about books. I know I've thought about it! I tried to abridge my gushing adoration to a few sentences.

(Listed in no particular order)

1. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

I could spent the rest of my life reading Shakespeare, and only Shakespeare, quite happily. Last week I saw a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream as well as a film version of Hamlet. Tonight I'm seeing The Winter's Tale. Basically, I've been in a Shakespearean kind of mindset, and I love it.

2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I cheated with this one. Let's say that I had one massive volume with all seven books. If I could only have one....hmm. It would probably end up being Goblet of Fire or Order of the Phoenix, but I'm tempted to say Deathly Hallows just for "The Prince's Tale." I don't want to choose. I need the whole series.

3. My scriptures (The Holy Bible/The Book of Mormon/Doctrine and Covenants)

This one really ought to go without saying. As much as I love fictional works of literature ( A LOT A LOT A LOT) there is nothing more precious or crucial than having access to the true and living words of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

4. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

To start with, I consider it to be one of the best books ever written, and I'd love to have it with me wherever I was stranded. To continue, I would be on an uninhabited island. Reading Treasure Island ON AN ISLAND sounds like paradise to me, even though I'd probably end up seeing the whole book as a monument to the courage and fortitude of Benjamin Gunn.

5. Wuthering Heights by Emile Bronte

My all time favorite book, favorite love story, favorite tragedy, you name it. I can't think of a book that so affected me emotionally when I first discovered it, and continues to have the same dramatic effect on me every time I reread it.

Honorable mentions go to Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard, Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda, and How to Build a Raft.

What five books would YOU take to a deserted island? What should I write about next?  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!

Arrr! It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day! :D Aye, it be the best time of the year, that be for certain. I plans to mark the occasion by indulging in some of me favorite pirate movies, and playing nothing but piratical tunes in me mode of transportation (which I refers to mentally as a ship). I must admit that I spent my Amazon gift card given to me on my birthday completely on pirate merchandise. I regret nothing. You are speaking to the owner of Pirates of Penzance, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and the OBC soundtrack of Peter Pan. Avast, ye scurvy dogs, on deck! IT'S TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY!

♪ To wear a red coat full of buckles...
To earn a few dueling scars.... ♫

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Few Books

Reading has lately been an intense pleasure.

I finished Packaging Girlhood by Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown recently, which was about raising girls with marketing and media being they way they are, which really got me thinking. It was very frightening, but I think it's most important to be prepared. It was written in 2002, and I think things have gotten even worse since then, if that's possible. And I also know that I'll have tons of Disney stuff in my home, no matter what books like these say.

I absolutely devoured the biography James Madison by Richard Brookhiser. Little Mr. Madison, as everyone called him, loved to read and pretty much wrote the Constitution and was generally awesome and we should get married and it’s too bad he lived a hundred and fifty years ago and yeah.

Before that it was American Eve by Paula Uruburu (this is the best last name to say out loud that you will ever find) about Evelyn Nesbit. That biography made me feel physically ill at how badly I had misjudged Evelyn due to the way she was represented in Ragtime. I wrote a whole post about her, but it was really long and her story is definitely a little disturbing and filled with sexual violence, so it will not be published here.

I’ve been working my way through The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker, which is very heavy reading. It’s about how mankind has actually gotten less, not more, violent through the ages. Reading about torture, death camps, and the body counts of war is not exactly filled with laughs, but it’s really made me think about this. I read slowly, much slower than I normally have to, and reread sentences that I don’t understand until I feel like I get them. It’s frustrating to go so slow, but I think it’s good to challenge your worldview once in a while.

To take a break from that I picked up Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Like most books that I’ve read after hearing lot of hype it was both very the same and wildly different from my expectations. It was Disturbing and brilliant and WOW.

Currently I'm on The Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart by Mary S. Lovell. Turns out that Amelia is a pretty cool lady. My favorite quote from her so far: “How does ‘being in business’…affect marriage?…It seems to me that the effect of  having other interests beyond those exclusively domestic works well. The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.”

Bottom line? I honestly cannot imagine my life without books. I cannot imagine what it is like to *not* love reading.